Background

The U.S. and Japan have launched a new task force under which they will cooperate on protecting and promoting internationally-recognized labor rights, including prohibiting the use of forced labor in supply chains through trade policy.

“To make the global trading system more resilient and sustainable, we must address forced labor at each stage of our supply chains,” said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. “Whether it’s the cotton in the clothes we wear or metals in the cars we drive, such abuses threaten to undermine the very foundations of our system.”

Through the task force, which Tai said was a concrete outcome of the U.S.-Japan Partnership on Trade, the two sides will exchange information on laws, policies, standards, and guidance on forced labor; facilitate stakeholder dialogues on issues like the effects of trade policies on workers and businesses and human rights due diligence in supply chains; and promote best practices for human rights and internationally-recognized labor rights due diligence. According to USTR, these areas of cooperation are designed to enhance predictability and clarity for businesses as they seek to contribute to resilient and sustainable supply chains.  

Noting that the U.S. and Japan “cannot do this alone,” Tai said that in the months ahead the two sides plan to invite other governments to join this effort.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg has a robust program to assist companies on forced labor issues. ST&R also maintains a frequently updated web page offering a broad range of information on forced labor-related efforts in the U.S. and around the world. For more information, please contact ST&R at supplychainvisibility@strtrade.com.

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